Nick Lehr/The Dialog by way of Lucasfilm , CC BY-NC-ND
Within the 40 years for the reason that authentic “Star Wars” movie premiered, the franchise has been a popular culture powerhouse.
“The Final Jedi” – the newest version within the sequence – appears to proceed the development, with large field workplace returns anticipated.
It additionally appears poised to affix “The Power Awakens” (93 p.c on Rotten Tomatoes) and “Rogue One” (85 p.c) as “Star Wars” movies which can be each commercially and critically profitable.
Not all “Star Wars” movies have hit that candy spot. It’s generally simple to overlook the prequel trilogy – “The Phantom Menace” (1999), “Assault of the Clones” (2002) and “Revenge of the Sith” (2005) – wasn’t met with the identical enthusiastic response from critics and followers, and hasn’t been appeared upon kindly since.
What made the prequel trilogy such a (relative) dud? Why are the newer movies being so significantly better acquired?
If it isn’t broke, don’t repair it
Analysis I helped conduct on what makes for a very good extension (sequel or prequel) could present some perception.
My colleagues and I tracked viewers reactions to sequels and prequels over the course of practically 100 franchises, from “Psycho” to “X-Males.”
Our outcomes present that the profitable franchises make smaller, gradual updates – relatively than sweeping modifications – in every successive movie. And it matches properly with what we find out about viewers conduct: They search a steadiness between the acquainted and the brand new; whereas they aren’t searching for a carbon copy of the originals, they’re hoping to relive a few of the most vivid, nostalgic moments from the primary movies.
With these findings in thoughts, let’s reexamine prequel sequence of “Star Wars.” When “The Phantom Menace,” the primary of the prequels, was launched in 1999, it had been 16 years since audiences had seen a brand new “Star Wars” movie. (The unique trilogy had simply completed up a profitable theatrical re-release.)
However followers hoping to relive the magic of the originals had been in for a shock.
The beloved trio of Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Harrison Ford (Han Solo) and Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) gave solution to new faces: Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman. As an alternative of counting on actual units, miniatures and fashions to drag off the breathtaking particular results within the originals, director George Lucas opted largely for computer-generated and digital results. There have been additionally modifications to the principles of the “Star Wars” world. The Power was now not being described as an all-encompassing life pressure that certain everybody collectively; it was now being defined as the results of particular organic cells known as “midichlorians.” (And I received’t even go into the broadly loathed Jar Jar Binks.)
Out with the brand new, in with the outdated
In distinction the most recent movie, “The Final Jedi,” consists of lots of the authentic forged members. Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher return to painting Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, respectively. And it options the favored “hero’s journey” plot system of the unique movies, through which an strange particular person’s life is unexpectedly upended, and he’s thrust into the position of the hero.
We see this phenomenon in different movie sequence and even product strains. Although the lead actor will often change, the James Bond sequence by no means strays from its action-film components. Apple has the same method when releasing new iPhones; earlier than taking the leap to a radically new model, it can launch an incremental “S” model of the earlier mannequin as a bridge.
That isn’t to say the brand new “Star Wars” movies aren’t making any modifications: There are extra feminine protagonists, along with a number of latest characters. However this isn’t precisely shattering followers’ expectations.
Our analysis additionally discovered that the deeper right into a franchise you get, the extra main modifications audiences are keen to simply accept. The subsequent “Star Wars” trilogy will broaden the boundaries of the “Star Wars” world, exploring planets and that includes characters not but seen on movie.
With this transfer, the studio is keen to wager that audiences are lastly prepared to simply accept some main modifications within the franchise – one thing they weren’t fairly prepared for but when the prequels had been launched.
Nevertheless, in an effort to make sure the Power stays sturdy over the franchise’s lifetime, these future movies could be smart to proceed together with a minimum of a handful of nods to the unique trilogy.
Subimal Chatterjee doesn’t work for, seek the advice of, personal shares in or obtain funding from any firm or group that will profit from this text, and has disclosed no related affiliations past their tutorial appointment.